Croatia Self Drive 08 - The Grand Tour!

Zagreb to Split via Slovenia


Croatia's & Slovenia's "best bits" including both capitals, stunning coastline, caves, islands, lakes, historic towns & national parks.

START - Zagreb / FINISH - Split

Activity code: CRFD08

Duration: 18 Days

If you were looking to visit both Croatia and Slovenia then this self-drive holiday is for you. Starting in the capital of Croatia, Zagreb, your journey includes national parks, historic towns, beautiful islands and much more. The itinerary concludes in Split but can easily be extended to Dubrovnik (making up three weeks in total) or done in reverse with the flexible flight schedule now available.

Your holiday begins with a smooth transfer service to your hotel in Zagreb where you have a couple of days to visit the city on foot and by using its excellent public transport. Your hire car will be delivered to you and you can then head straight out into the countryside in the direction of your first stop, the small university city of Varazdin which is one of the oldest in Croatia; in fact it is older than Zagreb. It is situated in a very important geographical territory, referred to as the "Northwest gate of Croatia" and is located on the southern bank of the River Drava. In the 18th Century Varazdin briefly became Croatia's capital but a disastrous fire meant the government returned to Zagreb. Today, the town has an easy-going atmosphere, thanks to its large student population and is a great base to visit the local castles and villages of the region, prior to your journey to Slovenia.

The middle section of this holiday is in Slovenia, including a couple of nights in its fabulous and compact capital, Ljubljana, and then on to the beautiful Lake Bled and Triglav National Park which offer so much in the way of outdoor activities. On the way back to Croatia stop off to visit the caves at Postojna, surely one of the best in Europe. Once in Istria your main base for this part of the holiday is likely to be Rovinj; from here there is so much to visit, including Pula, Porec, the Brijuni Islands and the lovely hill town of Motovun.

Before driving inland to the main national park of your trip, Plitvice Lakes, we recommend an overnight in the seaside town of Opatija or on nearby Krk Island (accessible by spectacular bridge). After a full day to explore Plitvice National Park it is time to return to the coast at the lovely old town of Zadar which also has some innovative new sights up its sleeve. Travelling along the coast road or highway you can visit another national park, Krka, en route to your final location, Trogir or Split (you can choose either according to your preference aas it is easy to travel between them on the small ferry across the bay). Time to relax or perhaps take up the offer to do some rafting or the mulit-zip-wire experience in the nearby Cetina Valley or possibly a day trip to one of the islands just an hour away by fast ferry catamaran.

Each day's drive is not so far so you have plenty of time to do some sightseeing, walking or take an extended lunch / picnic along the way. If you have a few extra days you may wish to consider a few days on the islands, such as Hvar, Brac or Korcula, and possibly completing your trip in Dubrovnik.

Important Information

Flights available to book with us through a range of airlines, from various UK airports to Croatia. If we book your flights this means that your holiday will also be fully ATOL protected.

Prices shown are a guideline "from" (in UK Pounds) and are based on a travelling party of at least 2 adults. Single supplements may need to be applied to the twin/double price and discounts for children (under 12yrs) and/or a 3rd adult sharing a room are available upon request. Quoted prices for individual enquiries will depend upon your chosen accommodation, room availability and dates of travel. We always aim to match a high quality experience with exceptional value for money. Discounts will apply if there are 3 or more people in your travelling party as fixed costs such as transportation and guides will be shared equally between the group.

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Based upon 2 persons travelling.

Prices from £1312 per person

What's included in your Fly-Drive holiday?

  • Private airport transfers.
  • 17 nights accommodation on B&B.
  • 14 days inclusive ONE WAY car hire.
  • * also includes cross-border Green Card, delivery & collection, second driver.
  • Fully detailed itinerary with driving directions, ferry info & sighteeing ideas
  • FREE travel app with all your documents, maps, weather & much more
  • All taxes
  • Full 24hr representative services.



Arrive into Zagreb; private transfer directly to your hotel. Balance of day sightseeing in Zagreb on foot and using public transport.

A free day to explore Zagreb's historic sites, museums and much more.

Optional Tour: Zagreb Guided Sightseeing Tour - Zagreb grew up on two neighbouring hills: Kaptol - the centre of spiritual and religious life of north-western Croatia, and Gradec - the commercial centre of skillful tradesmen and craftsmen. Take a walk with your guide, visiting the Upper Town with its Gothic Cathedral, the beautiful and ornate St. Catherine’s church and the massive St. Mark’s church with its famous coloured-tiled roof. Continue to the mediaeval Stone Gate and “Dolac”, the open-air market.

Deliver hire car to your hotel and drive the relatively short distance north to Varazdin, suggested detours include the traditional rural area around Krapina, the castle of Veliki Tabor, etc.

Head west into Slovenia with a visit to the beautiful town of Ptuj and then consider a route via Celje and the main highway or detouring slightly to travel along scenic route of Sava River valley. On arrival in Ljubljana you can explore the compact city centre on foot.

Day 5 - sightseeing in Ljubljana in the morning, then drive short distance to Lake Bled via the pretty towns of Kranj and/or Radovljica.

Day 6 - a full day to explore Lake Bled including nearby Vintgar Gorge, Lake Bohinj and the Triglav National Park.

Drive south back into Croatia. A possible scenic route through the mountains and an optional visit of the spectacular caves at Postonja and the castle at Predjama en route. Once across the border you can head for the coast and the beautiful old town of Rovinj. You actually have a fantastic choice of places to stay in Istria which also includes Pula and Porec or you may like to stay in the delightful hill town of Motovun which is not far from the frontier.

A full day to explore the history and stunning scenery of the Istrian Peninsula, including Pula's impressive amphitheatre & other Roman buildings, the historic town & resort of Porec, the Brijuni Islands (accessible from Fazana), the Lim Gorge, Svetvincenat and many more fascinating places.

Drive through the centre of Istria via Pazin (a lovely small town with a zip wire over its gorge) and over to the east coast; visit the old-style Austro-Hungarian resort of Opatija or maybe Rijeka prior to driving over the bridge to the impressive Krk Island.

** Alternative places to stay on this night include Opatija and Rijeka.

Return to the mainland across the bridge and then drive down scenic coast road to Senj prior to heading inland to Plitvice Lakes National Park.

** Alternatively, if you prefer to stick with the coast on this section then you may like to visit either Rab or Pag islands or perhaps Stari Grad Paklenica (for the national park) prior to arrival in Zadar.

A full day to explore the national park using the transport options included in your entry ticket together with some walking around the impressive natural wonders. We recommend pre-booking your tickets to ensure entry at a time of your choosing; these can be included as part of your holiday itinerary.

Drive south towards the Dalmatian coast on a choice of routes to beautiful Zadar; optional detour along the way to Paklenica National Park. If you wish to devote the whole day an enchanting alternative route would be via Otocac and Senj / Velebit National Park, even Rab and Pag Islands. Explore Zadar old town for dinner on arrival, visiting the fascinating Sea Organ and the ingenious "Greeting to the Sun" at the Riva.

More time to visit the historic old town of Zadar and its market and enjoy a little cafe culture. You may also have time to visit the nearby seaside town of Nin, Pag Island, Lake Vrana or any of the nearby islands such as Dugi Otok or the Kornati Islands National Park.

Your onward route today will depend upon where you wish to visit en route to Trogir (or Split). If you choose to use the main highway for at least some of your journey then you can easily visit historic Sibenik and the National Park of Krka; however, you may elect to simply enjoy the spectacular coast road via Biograd, Pakostane (Lake Vrana) and Primosten.

Drive to Split port and take a car ferry to one of the nearby islands, such as Hvar or Brac. Onward drive to your chosen resort and hotel.

Recommended places to stay

Morning sightseeing on your chosen island - for example, a walk up to the castle overlooking Hvar Town or the spectacular Zlatni Rat beach at Bol. A scenic drive to the eastern port of your chosen island and a short ferry crossing back to the mainland. You may like to visit Makarska or try the zip-wire experience at the stunning Cetina Valley near Omis if you have time prior to driving up the coast to Split.

Your choice for the next three days is either the pretty little town of Trogir or the centre of historic Split. NB. Trogir is usually recommended here as it is quieter and always better value but as you will likely give back your hire car there are fewer logistical issues affecting this choice.

Two full days to explore Trogir or visit nearby places of interest such as the Roman ruins of Salona, the Kliss Fortress or Split (it is possible to visit Split using the local passenger ferry across the bay). It is also possible to arrange excursions to the Cetina Valley for rafting and/or zip-wire, the Krka National Park or one of the other islands depending upon what you may have already done earlier on your holiday.

Private transfer to Split airport for flight home.


Flexible Tailor-Made Holidays

  • We believe passionately that no two holidays should be the same.
  • With our flexible tailor-made holiday options you can travel at your own pace.
  • Rediscover a city, a resort or an island in a weekend or longer.
  • Take a small group tour or embark upon a more adventurous trip.

Travel Knowledge

  • We have all travelled extensively and will be happy to share our experiences.
  • Personally-chosen hotels, riads, guest houses & apartments in places we know and love.
  • Individual sightseeing recommendations and route planning.
  • Add excursions, activities and food & wine experiences (one of our passions).

Why book a Fly Drive ?

  • Accommodation choices are small, independent or family-run properties which add significantly to your travel experience.
  • Stress-free arrival & departure transfer service.
  • Detailed driving directions, parking info, suggested routes & sightseeing ideas.
  • Fully protected for your peace of mind & financial security.